By GREG SCELLIN
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) officials showed off the newly-renovated LaFlesche Cottage at the Geneva Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center (YRTC) campus on Sunday, March 1. This is the first of a two-part series covering the return of girls to the Geneva YRTC.
DHHS CEO Dannette Smith told the two media outlets in attendance at the Open House that this week (March 2) will be the second full week that three girls will have returned to the Geneva campus. Currently, all programming is taking place in LaFlesche. In fact, LaFlesche is the only building on the Geneva YRTC campus that is being used for YRTC activities. The former administration building is currently housing 25 Medicare caseworkers in-training and the pool/gym building is dormant, but may be opened up in the future, according to Smith.
“We are going on two weeks now,” Smith said. “It was a joy to my heart seeing the girls here with their peers. It’s just a good feeling.”
She said the first time she visited LaFlesche she witnessed girls going over their driver’s license application, listening to staff give guidance and watched them go through normal daily activities like doing laundry and studying.
“This is about helping girls transition into society…independence is on its way,” Smith said. “This environment sets the tone that they are on their way home. We’re excited about being here. We have great leadership in place here who can set a level of accountability and make sure it’s achieved. The guidance the girls will receive here will be very good.”
Smith noted that Cammy Jacobe is the facility director in Geneva. Jacobe gave an entire tour of the very impressive LaFlesche Cottage before Smith fielded some questions.
“Cammy is just a wonderful fit for this position,” Smith said. “And, her staff is working very well.”
There are currently three girls receiving services in Geneva. All three girls have individual rooms in LaFlesche. This number could easily reach six (three additional individual rooms are already set up) with the current lay-out. A number of 10 (total capacity) could also happen. The girls were out of the facility when the tour was given.
“We wanted to start small and get it right,” Smith said. “We’re learning through this process that small is best. By keeping this small, I really think it will help our women develop better.”